Black Boxes on the Cloud
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Black boxes on planes serve a crucial purpose but I think it needs a technological overhaul. We are in an age where the technology required to upgrade tracking and recording of a flight is readily available.
How about making black boxes in planes more like Dropbox? Instead of a localized file saving system in the black box’s hard drive, it would be much better to store flight information and details in the cloud (no pun intended). The plane should be online the whole flight and data on flight details should be stored on the cloud in real time using satellite connectivity. It should use C-band for minimal interference from weather, clouds, rain etc.
All data pertaining to the flight that are usually stored in the black box (flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, transponder data) should be readily available in real time to personnel on the ground. But it should be heavily encrypted to prevent hackers and terrorists from accessing it, so I guess it has security issues but it’s nothing insurmountable.
This would cost airlines a huge amount of money and effort (upgrading to an entire new system always is) but at least it makes search and rescue easier and would be a great way of improving safety. It would allow for the diagnosis of what went wrong on the flight and would help rescuers by providing detail on the location of the plane and what the necessary equipment to use are, making search and rescue faster, possibly saving people who would otherwise have died if rescue efforts were delayed by a few hours.
In this age of rampant technological growth, people should not wait a long time knowing nothing about things pertaining to a crash when loved ones are on the flight. The public would also not have to wait until the black box is retrieved to know what went wrong.